The one question I ask all my couples and potential couples when planning their wedding day timeline is, “Will you be seeing each other prior to the wedding?” The answers they give me are equally split.  Some are certain they will stick with tradition and not see each other and others are game to see each other prior to the ceremony.  While the rest are very uncertain what they will do.  Let’s talk this through and shed some light on answering this question for ya.

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First let’s talk about “tradition”.  Once upon a time there was a time where you just did not think about seeing each other before the wedding.  The thought didn’t even cross their mind.  I remember my brother got married in 2002 and that was the first time I had ever heard of the bride and groom seeing each other prior to the wedding.  Slowly the movement of seeing each other spread and now more then half of my weddings see each other prior to the wedding.  There are beautiful moments either which way you choose.  It’s just deciding which is best for you and your honey.

The benefits of seeing your honey before the ceremony is simple.  You get to have those first moments together.  You get to have that moment where you look at each other and say, “Holy Moly, we are getting married! I love you!”  With my couples, I like to set up a private moment where you see each other for the first time.  Even though we are still photographing you, we try out test to give you that private time together without the cameras clicking ;–)  And of course the other benefits of seeing your honey prior to the ceremony is photos.  All photos can be done before the ceremony that way the rest of the evening is yours to celebrate.  Of course I encourage my couples to break away before or after their first dance for a few sunset shots.

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Now, the benefits of not seeing each other before the ceremony.  Obviously, there are huge pluses of having those doors open and bam there is your husband- to-be at the end of the aisle. *love sigh* That is a magical moment!  Tradition is always a cool thing. And of course the waterworks will flow at this moment. haha.  Now, not to turn debbie downer, but this is something to consider. When you get down to your honey there is realistically only a small window of time where you can  smile at each other and try to read others mind.  Does he love my dress?  Does she think I look ok? Man I love him!  I sure do love her!  Yeah, there are  a million things you want to say to each right then and there.  So it’s up to you as a couple to decide where tradition beats out emotions or if you want to have that chat with your honey before the prior to.  With the photography piece of not seeing each other prior to isn’t impossible but you will want to consider that you have to take about 2 hrs after the ceremony to finish up the rest of the photos.

*Sigh*  Deep breath. Lots to think about but I hope this helped. Happy Wedding Planning!!!!

Minnesota Engagement PhotographerAre you struggling as to what on earth you should do for your engagement session? Are you dreading standing in front of the camera awkwardly smiling to capture that moment in time when you were first engaged. Maybe you are clueless on what to wear.  Well lets just scrap that whole fear and lets have fun with your engagement session.  Let me help you change your thoughts towards your upcoming engagement session.

What if I told you engagement sessions can be fun?  Did you just gasp?  Understandable.  Let me share with you 5 things that will make for a grrrrrreat engagement session.

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#1. It’s all about you!
My personal approach is to capture your ‘relationship’ on camera.  Take a moment and think about what you and your love like to do together.  Do you like hiking?  Perhaps you enjoy snowshoeing or sledding.  Are you musicians? Play music with each other. It’s required that if you book with me, you must incorporate your fur babies. 😉  Ultimately, let’s take your interests and make that apart of your engagement session.  We will have plenty of time on your wedding day to take portrait type photos.
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#2. Relax.
No need to get all up tight and nervous about being in front of the camera.  Deep breath. Relax. Enjoy the moment and have fun with your love? Easier said than done, I know. Do whatever it takes to relax before the session to calm your nerves.  The more you relax the more you will look natural on camera. If it’s a liter of Coke, drink it.  If its a 2 miles run, run it.

#3. Don’t over think it.
I recall scheduling photo sessions for myself for updated head shots.  Some of the best photos I received were the ones that I didn’t over think.  I grabbed my favorite outfit that day, wore my best make-up or I hired a make-up artist, and I accessorize with my fav jewelry.  Going into the session feeling like yourself – the photos will reflect you as well.

Minneapolis Wedding Photography_Minnesota Wedding Photographer_0027#4. Pick clothes that reflect you.
What to wear is one of the top questions couples will ask me.  First things first, do not wear something that isn’t you or that you wouldn’t wear on a daily basis.  With that said, do consider coordinating your outfits; do not wear matching outfits. #twinses. Sorry to crush your dreams. Choose complimentary colors.  Don’t be afraid to wear prints or layer your clothes.  The key thing here is wear your best.

#5. Trust your photographer.
If an engagement session is important to you when picking your photographer, pick a photographer that you completely trust and feel comfortable around.  If you do not trust your photographer, the look of concern could translate onto the camera and will also rob you from the experience in tip #1-#3.
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Is there something that you are struggling with when going into your engagement session? I’d love to hear what you are planning for your engagement session.

Just remember, be you, relax and remember you are getting married to your one true love!

As I’m gearing up to pack up the house this week…yes it’s that time…moving to Idaho next week, I’m taking the time to blog this week before things get CRAZY.  I mean if I could blog while driving for 23 hours I totally would.  But….yeah… I’m going to pass on that. So anyways, this post is particularly special to me because we headed back to my homeland of Wisconsin Rapids, WI.  We set up this amazing Conceptual Cranberry Shoot at Glacial Lake Cranberries​.  Talk about the perfect setting.  Having grown up surrounded by the land of cranberries it was close to my heart to have this opportunity to make this happen.

Thank you to so many great vendors that made this shoot happen.  Even though the mosquitos where in top form we all worked together to shoot fast, set up smart and work efficiently. It truly was amazing! Great team!

And to top is off, this shoot was in Wisconsin Bride Magazine this past month. Check your local Wisconsin book store for a copy!

Wedding Planner: Belle Noelle Events + Design​
Venue: Glacial Lake Cranberries​
Florals: A Day in Provence​
Calligraphy: Hooked Calligraphy​
Dress and Veil: a&bé bridal shop
Grooms Attire: Moods of Norway​
Bow tie: Original Peguin
Headpiece: Lo Boheme – Vintage Inspired Hairwear and Accessories​
Accessories: Che Bella​
Hair: Viva Voce Salon​
Makeup: BB Makeup Hastings
Cake: Ganach Truffles
Vintage Rentals: On Solid Ground Vintage Rentals​
Linens & Place Settings: Après Party and Tent Rental
Models: Carly & Tim Milbrath

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Let’s just say that I’m looking forward to the day when I can say I own a ila handbag. I want that large tote in my hands!!!!! This collection is so perfect for a wedding, bachelorette party…and there is even a bag for travel or the beach.  I just love it!  Not only did I get the opportunity to ooh and ahh over these gorgeous bags, I was able to hear more about the story of ila handbags, and how designer Paula Bjerketvedt created her brand!  I would love to share that with you.  Do yourself a favor and check our all of her amazing pieces.ila handbags
Tell me a little bit about your business and how you started your journey towards creating ila handbags?

“I’ve always had a passion for design, specifically textile design.  I knew I wanted to pursue a career in a creative field and have always been drawn to fashion, textiles & history. I graduated with a clothing design degree from the University of Minnesota. I landed a job out of college, I worked as a visual display coordinator at a larger clothing retailer and got a lot of good experience for 4 years. I then moved on to work for Anthropologie. I was the Visual & Merchandising Manger for the Minnesota stores for over 5 years.  It was wonderful & innovative retailer to work for. They truly embraced creativity and originality with in each store.
It was at Anthropologie that I became truly inspired and had dreams of branching out on my own. During this time at had gotten married and we had our first child; I was ready for something new. My husband ran a small design and branding studio in northeast Minneapolis. I started working with my husband at his studio as his project manager. After working together for over a year I started thinking a collaboration for my own business would be a good idea.
“The moment” came through an invitation to a friends wedding in Paris, France. Sadly, I wasn’t able to attend her wedding but knew I wanted to give her something special. In college I had always been drawn to bags and clutches as an accessory to my clothing designs, so sketching some clutch ideas for her wedding seemed natural. I pulled my sewing machine up from the basement and got to work. After a few rounds of modifications I showed my friend a clutch and she loved it. A few friends saw the clutches and wanted one of their own. It seemed like there might be a business there so I started making more and producing other styles, etc. ila is named after my eclectic, fashionable grandmother, Illavern Gregory (ila) and was started fall of 2010.
I currently run the shop out of our home studio. My recent collaboration with a designer friend from Chicago has been wonderful. I love collaborating with other creatives and hope to do more of that in the future.”

ila handbagsMinneapolis handbagsila handbagsWhat is your favorite thing about being in the fashion industry?
“I love the creative process. From designing a print, styling a
shoot, to picking images for the lookbook…love it all!”

What should we know about ila handbags?
“ila (pronounced Isla) is a Minneapolis, MN based boutique handbag and design studio featuring handcrafted, limited edition clutches and totes. All bags are handmade with only the highest quality silk, cotton, wool & leather fabrics. ila’s bags and clutches have been featured in publications such as Martha Stewart WeddingsThe KnotWHITE magazine,  Well Wed MagazineMinnesota Bride & MSP Weddings.”
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If you could make a handbag for anyone famous, who would that be?
Sienne Miller, Jenna Lyons or Sofia Coppola!ila handbagsila handbagsila handbags